Second International Albinism Awareness Day was observed on 13 June 2016. The day is observed to recognize the importance of increasing awareness and understanding of albinism in order to fight against global discrimination and stigma against persons with albinism. Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited difference present at birth. In almost all types of albinism, both parents must carry the gene for it tobe passed on, even if they do not have albinism themselves.
• The condition is found in both sexes regardless of ethnicity and in all countries of the world.
• Albinism results in a lack of pigmentation (melanin) in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.
• As a result, almost all people with albinism are visually impaired and are prone to developing skin cancer.
• There is no cure for the absence of melanin that is central to albinism.
Myths associated with Albinism
• People with albinism face multiple forms of discrimination worldwide.
• Albinism is still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically.
• The physical appearance of persons with albinism is often the object of erroneous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalization and social exclusion.
• This leads to various forms of stigma and discrimination.
• In some communities, erroneous beliefs and myths, heavily influenced by superstition, put the security and lives of persons with albinism at constant risk.
• These beliefs and myths are centuries old and are present in cultural attitudes and practices around the world.
United Nations resolution on Albinism
On 18 December 2014, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming, with effect from 13 June 2015, as International Albinism Awareness Day.
The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in 2013 calling for the prevention of attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism. Moreover, in response to the call from civil society organizations advocating considering persons with albinism as a specific group with particular needs that require special attention, on 26 March 2015, the Council created the mandate of Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.
Apart from this, the United Nations in its 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in which it pledges to leave no one behind also includes people with albinism. On this second International Albinism Awareness Day, it also appointed the first Independent Expert on the human rights of people with albinism.